@jack Understood. Here are two of my prompts for my journal... What two unrelated things did you come across, or do yesterday. How could they possibly relate? On a scale of 1-10 how was your day yesterday? What would have needed to happen to move that rating up just one spot? Is there really a gremlin in our homes who purposefully hides, destroys or otherwise enables the act of unpaired socks? :D
@jack Oh, and this is a good one for daily prompts (looking at you micrcoblogvember). Ever see an Improv performance where one of the actors asks for a one-word suggestion from the audience? Once they have a word, the performer does “jumps”. What one word does the suggested word make you think of? What one word does that word make you think of? Start the scene around that third word.
So here's a word for you: Staircase
@cm This is interesting and timely because I've been thinking about creative prompts lately. I've concluded that, for me, they're not useful. I'm not striving to be a capital-W Writer (or a Photographer or whatever), so if I don't feel like creating something, I just don't. My thinking is that if I have to force myself to create, why bother? If I can't be someone who simply must write or draw or make music, I should maybe do something else. Writing may simply be a staircase I need not ascend right now. (there it is! 😉).
So, I guess your prompt worked, just maybe in a different way than intended! :).
@jack Or maybe you just do those things when the mood strikes, and that's friggin fine. That's what I tell myself at least. I like Kleon's quote about “before you can be the noun (capital W writer, for example) you have to do the verb”. So maybe you just do those verbs when you want, without considering being the noun, and that's OK.
@cm @jack @amit Coincidentally, I’ve been thinking about creative prompts lately, too, and this conversation has inspired me to think out loud a little. I don’t know how relevant or tangential it is to what y’all are talking about. Some of it was sparked by a few statements in the conversation, and some of it was already lying around as I’d been writing about other, related things.
@rnv Good stuff! One thing I'm not sure about is "So a prompt for a writer is no different from, say, a fingering exercise for a musician." I'm not sure. Wouldn't the equivalent for a musician be more like a phone reminder saying "go pick up your guitar"?
I could certainly use a little obession and vocation. Prompts or no prompts :)
@jack No, I generally see a prompt as something for when you’re already sitting down with your guitar or pen or camera or paint, and you’re asking yourself, “What will I work on today?” A prompt may be: running major scales in DADGAD tuning, or using only shades of yellow, or avoiding all words with the letter E, or limiting yourself to a 50mm lens set at ƒ/2.8. Or, of course, “staircase.”
Prompts are just suggestions to challenge ourselves, and to keep us working even when we’re not feeling “inspired” to work. Inspiration, in my experience, may get our ass in the chair, but it won’t carry us very far after that, especially if we’re expecting it to do all the work.
If you go months or years without picking up your guitar, then maybe you’re just a guy with a guitar in his apartment. And that’s okay! But if you want to be a guitar player, you gotta sit down with it even when you don’t feel like it. Same with writing: you have to do it as often and regularly as you can. Having a writing prompt gives you a place to start.